Preventing Electoral Violence in Africa

A practitioner's guide providing firsthand accounts and lessons from scholars and political and civic leaders in the field, with the aim of expanding the dialogue "to ensure free and fair elections in which all of Africa's people can safely exercise their democratic rights."

Foreign policy analyses written by CFR fellows and published by the trade presses, academic presses, or the Council on Foreign Relations Press.

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Sub-Saharan Africa

Elections and Voting


This book was inspired by a simple truth: no person should face death to cast a vote nor for the choice made. The ability of a country to successfully conduct non-violent elections is a crucial indicator of the consolidation of its democracy and a necessary condition for free and fair citizen participation. Unfortunately, democratization is rarely a smooth path. The competition and contestation characteristic of the entire electoral process can, in the extreme, result in the electoral violence that we have seen rage starkly in different countries around the world. In Africa, with its high degrees of societal and cultural diversity, and relatively weaker mediating institutions, electoral violence remains a crucial challenge that requires deeper investigation and collective action to address. With 30 African countries holding elections in 2011, and another 20 scheduled for 2012 elections, this book is especially timely for policymakers, scholars, civic leaders and activists interested in ending deadly violence and advancing democracy.


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